The future of textiles explored today
The passion to explore and develop mechanisms of textile-making has raised Aalto University textile design students’ expertise to an internationally acknowledged level. Several international guests of the Fashion in Helsinki week visited the Tekstiili18 exhibition.
Alfred Vernis, Sustainability Academic Director of Inditex Group (Zara) was impressed about the the exhibition: “Very nice works were shown at Kaapelitehdas by Aalto University’s students. Some of them are very sustainable, and I’m am really happy with that, our industry urgently needs ecologically sustainable textiles”, he stated.
“Textile industry has always had the role of being a pathfinder in societies. The first computer made in 1805 was in fact a Jacquard weaving machine that used punch cards. Modern technologies were developed for more effective garment production” says the curator and Adjunct Professor Maarit Salolainen. “At the moment, sustainable materials are the biggest challenge in the textile industry, as it is a heavy consumer of nature raw materials, energy and water.”
“Our students are so talented, that they really make miracles happen” emphasized Salolainen. Exhibited collections in fashion and interior design showcase the results of interdisciplinary team-based approaches, while new experimental materials push the boundaries of textile knowledge into the field of science.
“Textiles are all around us, so they are nearly taken for granted even though they are produced by huge multidisciplinary teams and complex production processes”, says Matilda Palmu, the coordinator of the Tekstiili18 exhibition. During the exhibition, over 1 200 guests were immersed in the future of textiles beyond aesthetics, the outstanding pieces of work that have resulted from open and multidisciplinary exploration that combines design, art and science.
New, experimental materials and technologies
Technology is now on our skin and entering our bodies. The sun will power future wearable systems and enable on-the-go charging. Textile design student Sandra Wirtanen studied how to integrate existing solar cell technologies into woven fabrics. Experimental textile prototypes were made in collaboration with the Schools of Science and Engineering at Aalto University.
Also a fabric made of 50% Ioncell, and 50% commercial lyocell was showcased in the exhibition. It is designed by Maija Fagerlund and woven by Lapuan Kankurit. The coat is designed by Anna-Mari Leppisaari.
Ioncell is a sustainable textile fibre for the future, and it is produced in a process that turns wood pulp, used cotton textiles or even old newspapers and cardboard into new high-quality textile fibres without harmful chemicals. The production technology is currently at a pilot scale. An environmentally friendly solvent called ionic liquid, was developed in Finland by a team of researchers from Aalto University and the University of Helsinki.
Experimental Textile Design MA Module 2018
Students are not afraid to try things that are nearly impossible. “Inspired by weaving structures, we developed holograms which can be projected by laser light”, say fashion students Bettina Blomstedt and Otto Rummukainen, media student Kilian Kottmeier and engineering student Aleksi Miettinen. “The project was really ambitious.There was a 90 percentage possibility of failure, but by hard work and experimentation, the students managed to make the hologram function – to their professors’ surprise”, rejoices University Lecturer Andrej Shevchenko from the Department of Applied Physics.
The holograms were produced in collaboration with the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University. The Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture together with the School of Engineering, is implementing an educational module that emphasizes experimental and multidisciplinary textile design. The award-winning collaboration has now been organized four times. It focuses on immersive pedagogy that combines technical and artistic thinking and visual research methods.
Aalto University’s Tekstiili18 is the second curated exhibition, that presents textile design works in various fields such as fashion, interior, art and science. The exhibition was open at Helsinki Cable factory on May 21-27, 2018.
Video of the hologram (Kilian Kottmeier):